fixing a tearout divot

I have a cherry coffee table top that has a tiny knots in it where the grain reverses. In 2 spots, my planer took out a divot 3/8 of an inch across and nearly an 1/8" deep. My guess is that that is way too much to sand out.
The finishing shedule will be two coats of tung oil, sealed with shellac and then top-coated with some thinned poly with perhapsa little tung added.
Would there be any value to trying to "fill" divots with platinum (close to clear) shellac with an eye dropper (over a couple of days) to bring the divots closer to a level surface before moving to the poly stage?
Somebody else must have tried this before. Did it work?
-Steve
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I hate when that happens.
In similar situations I've taken several different approaches. I have access to a wide belt sander, so the number one approach is to go with a slightly thinner top. Maybe sand it down half way to minimize the chip out.
You can also use a burn in stick (you can see them at rockler, etc.), but you basicially need to try a bunch of them that are close in color until you get the one that's right. Can be expensive if you don't have any to start with. Another approach is just using filler. It's easiest to patch these if they are in a field with lots of action and color variation ion the grain. Once you fill it you can use lots of diffent techniques to blend the color in. I often use pencils and permenant markers. I'll just drw in some new grain lines. It can be a challenge to get a film over ink or burn in if you use lacquer or poly but shellac usually flows well. Just test to make sure the colors won't run in the ink.
If you fill with a clear fill, shellac build up or resin, what you will have is a visible chip, with a clear filling.
Whatever you do, you will never be able to look at the table top and not instantly see the problem. However, everybody else in the world will likely never see it.
BW
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C & S wrote:

On small tearout divots, I've used epoxy. If they are not large they pretty much vanish once it's finished. I was working with cedar and mesquite which are both darker than cherry and don't know if that would make any differance.
Fred
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On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 13:07:41 -0500, "C & S"

fill the gap. I've tried this on two pieces now and they turned out marvelously. I had a small knot in an apron and was able to fill the hole so there is no texture or gap. I also had a wide tear out on a maple table top that was too deep to sand. When I was done I could not see the gap even when I knew exactly where it was.
Woodworker's Supply has three different viscosities depending on how large a gap you have. The medium weight is good for filling tearouts. They also have an accelerator so the material will harden faster.
The process is: 1) spray the accelerator on the surface and let it soak in. 2) drop a small amount of cyanoacrylate on the gap so that the gap is slightly over filled. 3) after letting it harden (overnight if not using accelerator or within about 15 minutes if using the accelerator) use a scraper to scrape the excess down to the wood surface. 4) sand with 220 or greater grit so your finish adheres to the filler. 5) finish as normal.
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I hate when that happens.
In similar situations I've taken several different approaches. I have access to a wide belt sander, so the number one approach is to go with a slightly thinner top. Maybe sand it down half way to minimize the chip out.
You can also use a burn in stick (you can see them at rockler, etc.), but you basicially need to try a bunch of them that are close in color until you get the one that's right. Can be expensive if you don't have any to start with. Another approach is just using filler. It's easiest to patch these if they are in a field with lots of action and color variation ion the grain. Once you fill it you can use lots of diffent techniques to blend the color in. I often use pencils and permenant markers. I'll just drw in some new grain lines. It can be a challenge to get a film over ink or burn in if you use lacquer or poly but shellac usually flows well. Just test to make sure the colors won't run in the ink.
If you fill with a clear fill, shellac build up or resin, what you will have is a visible chip, with a clear filling.
Whatever you do, you will never be able to look at the table top and not instantly see the problem. However, everybody else in the world will likely never see it.
BW
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Steve,
I've used the epoxy fix with good success in the past. I've used artist oils and acrylics to tint the epoxy (burnt umber and black) so the spot looks like a knot. Depending on the color of the wood, I've used a black tinted epoxy to fill the divot then took a toothpick with burnt umber and epoxy on it and swirled it in the black epoxy to make it look like a knot. Have to admit it came out looking pretty good and the several knots I made were about 1" across. Believe this tip came from one of Bill Flexner's articles.
Bob S.

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I have had success by placing the pointy end of a hot iron on top of a damp cloth that is over the indentation. Try it, you'll like it!
The Pharmer
C & S wrote:

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Thanks for the hints.
I experimented with epoxy last night. Yeah the chip shows, but I can achieve a very level surface.
I tried filling both before and after tung oil. pre-tung seemed to highlight trearout a bit less. Scraping the epoxy flush after an overnight curing (90 minute stuff) worked very well. I applied another wash of tung oil to see of there would be a shadow of sealed grain from the epoxy and there is none.
I suspect that CA glue would perform about the same.
Unfortunately I do not have access to a wide belt sander.
So. My approach will be to mitigate the problem with sanding tools at hand and follow up with epoxy.

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Gee - all the pointers in this thread are way better than my usual approach: Bondo and spray enamel. FoggyTown "Cut to shape . . . pound to fit."
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